What a difference a day made for both No. 23 Iowa and UTEP in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday night. Iowa struggled offensively for much of the night in their overtime win over Xavier on Thursday, but Fran McCaffery’s team had no such issues against the Miners. As a team the Hawkeyes shot 52.5% from the field with Aaron White (17 points) and Zach McCabe (14) leading four players in double figures in the 89-53 beating.
UTEP was able to confuse Tennessee with a variety of defenses on Thursday, and the Volunteers’ inability to convert shots a close range was also a factor, but they had no such luck against Iowa. Twenty-two of Iowa’s 31 made field goals were of the assisted variety, and they turned the ball over just five times. Iowa advances to Saturday’s final, where they’ll take on either Villanova or No. 2 Kansas, and the win means that Iowa will get a shot at a quality non-conference victory after entering the event without one on their current resume.
Julian Washburn was the lone Miner to reach double figures, scoring 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting. As a team UTEP shot 34.6% from the field and finished with an offensive rebounding percentage of just 15.8%, and given how poorly Tim Floyd’s team shot they needed to find a way to earn some second-chance opportunities. Unable to do so, UTEP suffered their worst loss of the season thus far.